Jimquisition: Integrity, Journalism, and Free PS4s

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Eve Charm:
Really you don't need your name branded on the god damn console to "Track the console" They have SERIAL NUMBERS! They can remotely brick your damn console by checking your console id online if it so happened to fall into evil hands and what not if they gave a damn.

But how would they know it fell into "evil hands" and it wasn't the reviewer using it themselves? Serial numbers are typically hidden on the back or the bottom, so it would be easy to sell it to somebody else and it would be visually indistinguishable from a stock unit. Having the name emblazoned on it makes it much easier for onlookers to know the origin of the device.

Now why you may be above the bribe, how many people won't be to try and get more free crap.

But there will always be unscrupulous people. If it doesn't happen out in the open like this, it will happen behind closed doors and be much more insidious. At least this way, it's public knowledge.

What do you mean they can take a picture of the rest of the 95% of the ps4 that doesn't have their name of it if they wanted to you know sell it. Or not take a hammer and chisel and destroy where their name is if they gave that much of a crap. How about if weird user names with real names and credit cards show up online to a system with a serial number registered to someone else, that'd be 100 times easier to find bs then what knocking on peoples doors looking for someones name written on a ps4?

Lastly it depends on the thing if public knowledge makes something better or worse, BS is still BS public or not and it's not like this was public knowledge, people just leaked out the info and made themselves look like shills.


I probably wrote it badly in my haste. Cubicle work is the most applicable standard for this kind of work however, where someone is to use a computer or similar device for a long period of time. Remember the subject here is game reviewing, and the most practical way of doing it as a "regular job" would be to have the reviewer sit in a cubicle where the console and monitor are set up and play the game there.

How is that the most applicable environment for the job? If the job is to review games, the household is a much more appropriate one, because that's where most people play games. they are typically not played in office cubicles. And they are not typically played on a 9-5 office work schedule.


As I pointed out, right now half the problem with reviews is that the system is fundamentally corrupt, and very few reviewers rise above that.

Well, Jim certainly does. He regularly attacks the industry. Do you think him getting a PS4 is going to change that? Do you think him working in a cubicle is going to change that?


Much snipped for brevity.

For starters this isn't about Jim or anyone else specifically for that matter, as I mentioned exceptions exist. I've been very politic to not turn it into that. I did mention in my first post that you can drawn your own conclusions about the fact that I frequent The Escapist. This is more about the issue than him or any other specific individual involved.

The majority of what was snipped generally comes down to the basic point of industry corruption and the idea that reviewers should be separated from what they criticize. You disagree, I do not. However the point remains that someone could very well do reviews in a cubicle (which does not require a huge office and a farm, it could just be separated off to the side of a small office area). One does not NEED to get into bed with the gaming industry in order to criticize the gaming industry. Doing the job this way is a lot more comfortable and pleasant, but it's hardly necessary, and it's going to rightfully call into question the integrity of the reviewers and the entire system, like we've seen happen. You might try and strawman the other point about advertising on the production end of thing until your blue in the face, but the bottom line we've already had the whole Gerstmann "Kane and Lynch" fiasco which pretty much brought that one to the forefront, and helped pave the way for the latest outbreak of rage against the gaming media and it's members. Like it or not a review source that is beholden to the people it watchdogs, is always going to have it's integrity questioned, especially after scandals like that. I do not follow car magazines enough to talk about any similar incidents that might have taken place or how they influenced things, but then again cars are a big purchase and not something that gets reviewed for a quick, fairly frequent, pick up like a video game. Your typical "review" there is more of an opinion for an enthusiast who is curious, not so much a "hey, buy one of these right now" because really, the readership of a gearhead magazine isn't going to do that.

At the end of the day we'll have to agree to disagree, in short I think the criticisms of reviewers being gifted these new Playstation systems are appropriate. It also shouldn't surprise anyone, because the relationship between the gaming media and gamers has been under increasing stress for a while now. To be honest I think you'd see more trust for the gaming media without the industry hosted gala press events, and the giveaways.... and honestly after Gerstmann unless the media separates itself from the gaming industry advertising dollars, there is always going to be a layer of suspicion there, that case brought it to the top of people's minds and left it there, and that means anything else that happens is going to be compounded by it. You might not like what was thrown back at the reviewers over this, but it's understandable, and I think Jim is wrong about it being unfair or undeserved. Right now the gaming media is in a position where it needs to earn trust from it's followers in order to avoid these kinds of things, fair or not. As I've said before, there are only a handful of people in the gaming media I put any real trust in (even when I don't always agree with them), and a huge number of people are the same way or even more paranoid about the gaming media, as you can see by the backlash.

A large part of the problem is how little most of us know about the ins and outs of being a paid reviewer, especially for your chosen hobby. How much time is spent both overall and writing, not playing? Do you play differently for review than you do leisurely? How often are you slammed by your editor that this is unacceptable? Stuff like that. Without that, it's hard to see the job as anything but being paid to do what a lot of us do anyway, and not even doing that well as it seems that game killing bugs never seem to hit reviewers (no Pokemon reviewer got a corrupt save, or Skyrim reviewer had severe slowdown?)

Of course, if you post or tweet anything that can be summed up as "I got something and you don't HA HA." you're just being a dick and deserve the hate mail you get.

Just my 2 cents:

In my state, Michigan, it's actually ILLEGAL to make your employees pay for work related expenses incurred while on the job. For example, if I dropped and broke a tray full of dishes at a serving job- by law they couldn't make me pay for the damages.

Making game reviewers pay for their games and systems would be like making a server pay for all the food they served. Or making construction workers pay for their own hard hats and building materials. I agree with Jim, most people should know this stuff.

Honestly, it shows integrity and belief in their products when game/publishing companies give out copies of their game for review. It says: "We made a game and we believe in it enough that we're willing to let you speak your influential mind about it in well read public spaces." You should be more wary of companies that DON'T give their games/systems out for review, as they would more likely have something to hide.

Well... yeah.

This is yet another issue where I can't believe the immediate response to the obvious sane position isn't a resounding duh.

Seriously guys? We have to be told this stuff?

Having said that, an excellent point on the tackiness of the hashtag photo-tweets that send entirely the wrong message.

I cant believe a man that has said "konami is konami and konami is the worst" and "only konami could have the easiest job in the world and still fuck it up because konami is konami" is surprised he was blacklisted by konami. Theres only so much shit you can say about a company before they take their ball and go home

Apparently no one has fulfilled Mr Sterling's request in the podcast describing "A picture of us licking a PS4 with a caption of 'Game Journalists' underneath".

Yeah, this is a thing. Why is that news? I agree with Jim completely, though I do think that milder accusations could have been substituted. I mean, how else would anyone expect reviewers to review what they do? The common game is released at $60, and there are usually quite a few of those at any one time. And since they're reviewers, they can't wait until the price drops, otherwise their review becomes irrelevant. If someone is worried that these free games are used as bribery, keep in mind that everyone who reviewed Ride to Hell and Aliens received a free copy too, and I'm pretty sure most wish they hadn't.

You sure did Jessica, you sure did.


Well if they didn't want it to look like that, then they really shouldn't have their names emblazoned all over them. That does make them look like gifts, not as resources for the companies they work for...

They were given out far before the release. It's common to have those things personalized so you can track back from whom it came if it sold or in case of movies etc. ripped from.

Then you give them inconspicuous ID codes hidden somewhere on the machine, not plaster someone's name all over them. THat just seems unprofessional.

I think that episode was a bit of a swing and a miss there.
If you think that paying to do your job is a bit unfair, spare a thought for those who have to pay for their own uniforms for work or those pay for petrol to put into their cars - all so that they can do their jobs. Most of us have to spend money to earn money, it's not nice - but it is the way of the world.

As far as journalistic ingegrity goes, the buck ultimately stops with the editors I'd imagine. They're the ones with the power to fire the schills, sellouts, the plain awful or the unpopular reviewers. But I do agree that with whole-heartedly that journalists showing off their games, consoles or game based merchandising is a rather tacky and gauche way to behave.

I don't mind the reviewers getting the free games on the condition that they have to give them back after they're done reviewing them. If they truly want the games, they are free to purchase them from their local retailers like everyone else.

Reviewers aren't the √úbermenschen they take themselves for, nor do they deserve special treatment. Everyone has to pay for the things they want in life, reviewers shouldn't be any different.

I'm sorry but I had to:


Hello Jim Sterling!

I apologize for being pedantic but I have to add that money isn't covered by any law of physics.


Have there been actual cases of game journalists getting bribes?

I know IGN got caught taking bribes a few years back and it was supper shady when IGN gave ME3 nothing but praise after Chobot was given a role in the game *cough* while she was employed at IGN *cough*. Make no mistake professional review sites were all praising ME3, but IGN was the only one not to say anything negative about it. I think they amended their review to include some of the negatives after people started asking why.

OT- I understand why Sony would engrave names into the hardware. HOWEVER, just a serial number would accomplish the same purpose. I only really blame Sony for waiting three days prior to release to let reviewers have their hardware and forcing them to come to a pointless party. Just send the shit in the mail.

I understand why the internet would cry out in rage over seeing these people plaster pictures of themselves holding engraved pre-release hardware at a Sony event. I don't blame the internet. (Saying reviewers need to buy their own shit is just fucking stupid though. Seriously guys, would you buy half the shit these people HAVE to play?)

I blame the reviewers. For no reason should they have made such a big deal out of this. One or two pictures to show what they got and a description of the event. They could have even done more, but it had to look professional. I think that is what the biggest problem is here, the lack of professionalism.

While I have great faith in the future of video games as art and a creative medium, I think these last few weeks have been worrisome. Do we really need to sound out a battle cry over every event and make it into this weeks problem, regardless of what effect it has on us individually?

Oh my, you can either go broke or accept free consoles from the companies whose products you review. You're absolutely rig... wait a second. Is there not a third option? Do you not have an employer? Do other game reviewers not have employers? Do employers not make a habit of providing their employees with the materials they require to do their jobs in every other industry? No, this isn't journalism, in my opinion. This is just justification of game journalism's dependence on the industry it purports to cover. You want to do journalism then do a video asking The Escapist why you're not getting your PS4 from them instead of from Sony.

Jimothy Sterling:

Wait. Blacklisted by Konami? HOW?

There is a Jimquisition episode called Konami. The road to blacklisting begun there.

It ended when I pretended to be the newly crowned head of Konami's PR department for a day. :)

You are my hero, that sounds so funny. Going to go watch that episode now!

On another note, you're vidoes are awesome and keep up the good work :)

Dear Jim (and everyone else),

I'm not going to go out of my way and tell Jim is a corrupt guy. I think he is one of the few who I can consider above this. Nevertheless, when Sony or any company gives you any material, it is considered an investment on their part and many people will feel like they owe the company a form of kickback.

Let's look at my situation: I'm an ESL teacher. I used to teach in 3 different schools, 5 different grades in every school. Each school had a different mandatory set of material that had been selected by some guy before me, which is fine most times. On the other hand, to work more efficiently with the material I would need the teacher's guide for every single grade. A guide goes for anywhere between $200 (if lucky) to $600 and I'd need 15 to cover everything. Can I afford them all? Of course not. Will the school pay for them? In your dreams! I'd be lucky to even get a single one.

What often happens though is that a publisher will try to sell a new textbook into schools and will give away the guides to the main ESL teacher at a school (or set of schools) in order to push out another publisher and get their part of the market. Most schools will force the teacher to pick the textbooks if the guides come for free, regardless of quality.

So as a teacher, what am I to do? Would it be okay for me to pick the lesser material just so I can get free guides? What if I pick the material to get the free guides, but the quality is actually pretty good: would parents be justified to think I may have selected the material simply because it came with free stuff?

I think it's obvious that free games for reviewers is necessary and non-corrupting. However, I would like to see an episode on the question of how beholden gaming websites are to AAA publishers and how it affects reviews. I find it impossible to believe that the average critic thought GTA5 was a 9.8/10, and even more impossible to believe same about GTA4. Particularly when some of these outlets had GTA ads splashed all over their websites for weeks before launch. Even if you think it's non-corrupting, merely the perception of corruption is a big problem for the industry.

The only issue I have with the reviewers is the one that Jim himself touched in the video - showing off your hardware and games is unprofessional and makes you look smug. Emblazoning the names onto the systems is just tacky, too. I mean, they have serial numbers, right?

Thing is, if you're a professional game reviewer, then you need to look the part. What's expected of you is a professional, as-objective-as-possible review of the games and systems, informing us, the customers of the merits and flaws of whatever you're reviewing. That's the image you want to keep as a professional game reviewer.

Flashing your swag is just going to make you look like you're only in it for the freebies, whether that's true or not.

There's also the entire point of there not being enough degrees of separation between the industry and the reviewers, but that's something I currently do not have time for.

I think it's absolutely corrupting; but so is human nature.

You think outside of the games industry, in regular cable and network news- if guys like Bob Woodward routinely received gifts from Washington insiders so they could do their job- would Watergate have been a thing? But of course, most mainstream journalists are well paid presstitutes- and if they play their cards right they may get a position in the Obama administration

You scratch our back, we'll scratch yours- it's human nature. However, the difference between mainstream journalism and gaming journalism is that mainstream journalism is for the most part funded by viewership and advertising, allowing the media for the most part to remain independent. Sure, you will see avoidance of inflaming sponsors, bending to the will of the network's parent company- nothing is perfect- but it's a hell of a lot better than asking for handout from whatever/whomever you are doing a story about.

Perhaps gamers make a lousy market demographic, you don't see too many ads here for erectile dysfunction pills, mortgage refinancing, or new cars- gamers buy games. Perhaps gaming media sites will never have the traffic nor the scratch to truly be independent. Probably, this is the best they can do.

Actually, not getting the review copies would be better. When movie critics don't get review screenings everyone knows in advanced. It's become a red flag that the movie is known to be bad by the studio, and they want to reduce damage from critics. The act of doing it actually causes a backlash unless the film has a cult following, like horror movies.

How is it better? With that all you get is reviewers saying, "It's suspicious that we didn't get review copies" and nothing else. People actually have a review day one or earlier because of the review copy. Embargos don't push beyond release date so I fail to see how we lose anything by people getting a bad game early. People who preorder games are always running the risk of getting burned.

In the case of Aliens all the critics were aware for a month that the game was bad, but couldn't inform anyone due to the embargo of Feb 12, 2013 at 8PM.

Right, but without the game they would also be unable to inform anyone due to not having played the game. At least this way they had reviews available for Feb 12, 2013. If they hadn't gotten the game at all, they wouldn't have the game review ready for hours anyway.

Though I do agree that the studio did some serious shenanigans, they are the worst example by far. They made an embargo and then released early. They essentially tricked reviewers on purpose. That is NOT typical. Can you name three other games that have done that in the past? You're essentially using a needle in a haystack to say that the haystack is made of needles.


Even if it is "GIFTING" it doesn't guarantee a good rating!
If I was given a PS$ to review and the thing broke down on me; guess what my review would be?

I actually think this post perfectly exemplifies the reason why average gamers make poor "critics".

If you had a faulty system you are implying that you would rate it rather harshly much like many users on amazon bombing with 1 star reviews as opposed to many critics who would notify their audience about the possible faulty hardware issue and wait until they get a working system to fairly review the system and launch lineup (such as TB who did get a faulty system.Of course TB isn't a reviewer but his approach is the most sensible).

But what if the review IS a review of the SYSTEM?
The system breaking down on me would definitely be a deserved negative towards a final say about the system.

Remember all of those bad reviews of the Xbox 360?
"I'll give my review, once it stops blowing up!"

That's a legitimate concern ESPECIALLY when you factor in how much the system costs.


Though I do agree that the studio did some serious shenanigans, they are the worst example by far. They made an embargo and then released early. They essentially tricked reviewers on purpose. That is NOT typical. Can you name three other games that have done that in the past? You're essentially using a needle in a haystack to say that the haystack is made of needles.

Games that have abused the system

The War Z - The actual worst offender. Take your pick on the level of abuse.
SimCity - Gave reviewers a controlled to review the game.
Kane and Lynch: Dead Men - Getting a reviewer fired, and this is the main issue. Most of these firing are secret. The reviewers don't know why they're being let go just that they are. When they do know they get slapped with legal non-disparagement paperwork. The only reason we know about Jeff Gerstmann is that it was very public, and CNET desperately wanted to buy Giant Bomb, but since they owned GameStop too they were forced to drop the non-disparagement agreement.

There isn't a single solitary way for the corrupt system Jim is defending to be abused. It is multi-pronged, and is only possible because reviewers are dependent upon bribes to do business.

It is far better to have no review. The few reviewers who refused to give a review of SimCity because they knew they were in a controlled environment that wouldn't reflect the users experience are honest reviewers. Reviewers like TotalBiscuit refused to actually give a recommendation because he knew his experience wouldn't reflect the users experience. Not all reviewers did, and it took the fiasco with Diablo 3 to teach the few reviewers that giving games in that stat any review is a bad idea.

The root cause needs to be removed in order to make reviews trustworthy. The direct dependence on the publishers and developers is the cause, and that needs to be mitigated.

From the business's perspective, there is a difference between paying for exposure, and paying for praise.
Review articles so gifted are investments, not for praise, but for exposure. I can understand that.

Exposure is relatively cheap; you send review copies to a critic with an appropriate audience, they get reviewed, you get exposure (good or bad, it matters not as long as people are talking about your game during that tiny window it has to draw attention).

Blind Praise, or corruption, requires having hard leverage over the critic.
Such control occurs from effective buyouts, usually through ad-revenue control.

From the critic's perspective, gifts that are necessary for them to provide exposure alone don't ensure they give more praise.

I can say that because unless the critic is easily pliable to the point of idiocy, providing the opportunity for exposure alone isn't enough.
Any game critic without brain damage will understand how exposure benefits -THEM- even without bribes or other leverage hanging over them because it's how they make money and/or attain relevance.

(and why the advertising game is so important. Don't EVER trust a critic whose site is wallpapered with ads of the games they review. I don't care what the critic says, NOBODY is that impartial, not when it threatens their livelihood, and definitely not in an age where AAA publishers are increasingly willing to do anything to stem further loss in what has been a long period of decay for most of the them.)

In other words:
Critics are beholden to Sony, yes, but only to provide exposure for PS4 games. Not praise, just exposure.
More relevantly, to provide more immediate expose, since in doing this Sony ensures that many critics will actually have the system available to them. Timing is important, especially during a system's launch, and ESPECIALLY during the Holiday Season.

Ultimately, how a reviewer taints their expectations as a result of any sort of gift is entirely up to him/her.
It's up to their ability to discern when it's fair to sign that Non-Disclosure Agreement for exclusive additional coverage or accept anything either a token of good faith or a bribe for compliance, or to even turn down lucrative ad-revenue that would create a conflict of interest.

You know, their "professionalism". It varies.

And that's why gamers are right to question and occasionally challenge critics on these grounds (yes, that includes you too Jim).
Not out of contempt, but to keep them honest. Which is especially important in an increasingly dishonest business.

I don't blame gamers for questioning this event; and I'm certainly glad that Jim provided good reasons in response to this challenge, because to do otherwise is to encourage the kind of silent complacency that allows corruption to germinate and spread.

When you review a game who are you representing? Are you representing a gamer who is gifted with free games, a free console and so now all is needed is free time?

If you have not noticed it is not like the economy is going so fantastically that we can all afford whatever game we desire in a moments notice. Same goes for plunking down $400-500 for a console.

Game enjoyment and the cost of it is an exchange so how is that fairly and genuinely represented when it is all free?

Reality is unless you get the number of viewers sufficiently high enough you will not get a free console or a free game. So how are those reviewers getting by then?

Jim I generally like your work and your commentary is insightful but on this topic I must respectfully disagree.

The simple fact is vested interests, once there is free benefit given then it will shape opinions. Ask a lobbyist sometime about their job and it's effectiveness on how they shapes others opinions. : )

Here's My take on the matter:
Someone at Sony: So we're sending new consoles to reviewers Again?
Someone else At sony: Yup
That guy from earlier: Hey, Since we make Consoles Almost every decade , we should do a little thingy for the Reviewers
Some guy, still at Sony: Like putting their name on their Systems?
Coworker: That's a great Idea!
Garry: Awesome.

Here's the Gamers take on the matter:

Skeletor: Mhhhhm, those pesty Critics are Claming their due once again!
Cunt McPoopface: Indeeed!
Skeletor: Ohoh! this is our oprtunity to Manipulate them! But what o' what will buy their souls and eternal Loyalty?!
Prince of Evil #36: I know! Engraving Their name on the token will surely do! Their integrity and professionalism isn't worth a nickle if we were to just write their name on it!
HufflePuff: Muhahahaha!
Gary: Awesome.

As much as I actually like Jim Sterling, I disagree with him on that part.
First of all, a critic who feels the weight of the pay will give a much lower score to the game in question than a critic who doesn't.
Secondly, they get limited editions that are made to cater specially for them (making the first argument even more weighted).
Thirdly, you aren't going to tell me that you can choose what review score you give towards a game, because you already said that if companies cut your video game supply off, your job would become too expensive to maintain. It makes me think that a first-party company is going to say this to you "You will give each game that can become a great exclusive for our console a minimum of (insert high score here)/10 or we will prevent you from getting your supply of games to review so that you will go to the streets and have to buy your games yourself (and in the end not be able to afford to be a reviewer)."
Finally, whilst I agree with you that the expectations of consumers can influence reviews, I still believe that if you present your review well enough that nobody is going to have the slightest bit of hatred towards your review.


First of all, a critic who feels the weight of the pay will give a much lower score to the game in question than a critic who doesn't.

So prove it. This should be easy to demonstrate since you're asserting it with such certainty.


Game enjoyment and the cost of it is an exchange so how is that fairly and genuinely represented when it is all free?

Does a game become objectively better when it is cheaper? More expensive? No?

Further, you've established a scenario where no reviewer can adequately review because a reviewer can never adequately "represent" every arm of the gaming population. Do we need a reviewer for every demographic, now? from the average gamer with a fair amount of disposable cash to the budget gamer to the child cracking open his piggy bank? Do you honestly believe reviews of games will change significantly if we were to break things down into a series of fiscal groups? Because that just sounds absurd.

Here's My take on the matter:
Someone at Sony: So we're sending new consoles to reviewers Again?
Someone else At sony: Yup
That guy from earlier: Hey, Since we make Consoles Almost every decade , we should do a little thingy for the Reviewers
Some guy, still at Sony: Like putting their name on their Systems?
Coworker: That's a great Idea!
Garry: Awesome.

Here's the Gamers take on the matter:

Skeletor: Mhhhhm, those pesty Critics are Claming their due once again!
Cunt McPoopface: Indeeed!
Skeletor: Ohoh! this is our oprtunity to Manipulate them! But what o' what will buy their souls and eternal Loyalty?!
Prince of Evil #36: I know! Engraving Their name on the token will surely do! Their integrity and professionalism isn't worth a nickle if we were to just write their name on it!
HufflePuff: Muhahahaha!
Gary: Awesome.

A more probable scenario:

Someone at Sony: Gamers are all filthy thieves and pirates who like to sell off their old games and consoles, stealing money from us. To prevent resale/gifting of our console, let's clearly mark each console allowing us to conveniently identify the source of the theft should someone actually decide to sell theirs off.

Someone else at Sony: Brilliant!

Seriously, it's not the first or last time something like this has been done as essentially an anti-theft device. The fact that these reviewers will need a console to review games on is wholly irrelevant to the fears of game companies.

And media in general. Some music labels come just shy of telling reviewers "you're a fucking thief and can't be trusted, so we're going to do everything to stop you from stealing our media short of putting a remote-activated poison capsule in your heart!"

Alright ya bastard forum goes, show of hands, who else imagines himself as that PS4 being licked by the sterling boy?

Thank god for Jim!!

A little late to the party that is this tread, but I think after skimming it nobody has brought this up:

While many game journalism sites behave in a completely ethical manner, not all of them have a publicly viewable Editorial Ethics policy. I looked around the Escapist about sections for one, but couldn't locate anything like it. (I also learned that they haven't updated their About section to show that ol' Jimothy is now a part of the Escapist staff.)

Anyway. I searched various game jornalism websites for their ethics policies, and I only found one that was completely transparent. I hate to site the example for fear of moderator infracthammers hitting me, but Joystiq happens to have a pretty comprehensive and publicly viewable ethics policy, and (again I say this in fear of the infracthammer) I think other sites, including the Escapist, should follow suit.

The tricky part is what power do we, as the consumer, have to hold jornalists - and their organizations - accountable when we suspect or even have evidence that they did violate an ethical policy that they do (or should) have? Individuals can only throw around so much weight nowadays.

Hmm, free games, free consoles, biased reviews, ok, I want to be a reviewer too. I want to get free stuff, comment about the free stuff and get paid for it too... damn you guys have it good, you rich f--ks.

The really infuriating thing about this whole ordeal is NeoGAF's thread basically aimed to counter my entire belief on games reviewers and journalists, and I could never fathom why. Do movie reviewers pay to see movies? 99% of the time no. Are art and food critics paid to go see/eat the content? Yes. Why the hell should game journalists be treated different? It's why a lot of gaming press don't see like press. If you want to be mad about something, be mad about being in bed with companies that aren't game devs, like Doritos and Mountain Dew. I'm looking at you Dorito Pope.

Well, all this does for me is reiterate how much I dislike my job, and I how I boil with envy at those like Jim who do what they enjoy AND get paid for it, and that's before we get to the free consoles and games (which I accept as necessary to the job, at least). And, to really push my buttons, they claim to do so as a service to me, the alleged gamer.

Quite thoroughly green now. Where do I hand in my CV?

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